A Manhattan federal court judge sentenced disgraced former New York Congressman Chris Collins to 26 months in prison for insider trading on Friday after the 69-year-old pleaded guilty in October to the insider trading charges, in addition to lying to the FBI.
Collins admitted he called his son, Cameron, from the White House Rose Garden to share confidential information about an Australian biotech company, Innate Immunotherapeutics. And the crime was caught on camera by a CBS News crew.
Taking his father’s advice, Cameron dumped his shares, avoiding around $571,000 in losses. Judge Vernon Broderick described the father and son’s actions as a “crime that goes to the heart of our financial system” and creates a “perception that the market is rigged.”
The former lawmaker addressed the courtroom before he received his sentence, seemingly overcome with grief and making unintelligible comments while rocking back and forth. Collins’ lawyers assert that he should be granted leniency and be allowed to serve his sentence at his new home in Florida because, they claimed, he was not sane when he lied to the FBI.
However, Judge Broderick didn’t buy the argument, stating, “I don’t see this as a spur-of-the-moment loss in judgment.” Broderick wasn’t as harsh on the punishment as prosecutors hoped when they requested nearly five years in prison for the ex-congressman.
Collins won reelection in 2018 under federal indictment and while maintaining his innocence but resigned after news broke that he intended to plead guilty. According to the New York Post, Collins must also pay a $200,000 fine and will surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on March 17. Cameron, who also pleaded guilty, is facing sentencing next week.